Relative Advantages of Instructional Software in the Classroom

September 23, 2012

Admittedly, I am seeking a Master’s degree in Educational Technology.  It can be inferred that I find value in technology in the classroom.  In today’s technological world, the real question is why wouldn’t a teacher want to integrate technology?  There are many studies that indicate that financing, access to technology, and administrative pressures prevent teachers from incorporating technology.  Perhaps some of those stopgaps would be eliminated if those in power knew the relative advantages of using instructional software.

Instructional Software in the Classroom

For instance, drill and skill software offers unique advantages over manual skills practice in the classroom.  Without software, the teacher has to monitor each student and check for understanding individually.  The advantage of drill and skill software is that students get immediate feedback on their progress.  Additionally, students are able to work at their own pace and move as quickly or slowly as they need.  This approach offers differentiated instruction for those students who need it.  In my AP Literature and Composition class, I have incorporated the use of software for vocabulary drills.  My students use Quizlet to test vocabulary that they may encounter on the AP Exam.  Here’s a quiz that we used recently.

While there are many different types of software available including tutorials, simulations, games, and problem-solving software; teachers need to be aware of what software is available to them.  Success stories of how other teachers use software can provide inspiration for teachers to incorporate their own technology.  Education Week did a special report on Multimedia Transformation that includes wonderful success stories.  Some of the technology doesn’t qualify as instructional software, but it’s a great place to start looking for inspiration.  I also like Glencoe’s online tips for integrating technology into Language Arts classrooms.

I don’t have statistics to support my claims that instructional software works in the classroom, but I can speak from experience saying that software engages students.  They are excited to be on computers in a room when they are normally not allowed or able to access technology.  Student enthusiasm rises enough that complacent or withdrawn students engage with software much more than they do with other classroom activities.  If I had to list the main relative advantage of instructional software, it would be that software motivates students to paricipate by engaging them with the content.

For more information on the relative advantages of software integration, click this link to see my SlideRocket presentation.

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